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The Westcoast Connection Blog

Life Changing Experiences

Where We’re Going, We Don’t Need Roads…Just Canals – Florence Pre-College Enrichment

Where We're Going, We Don't Need Roads...Just Canals - Florence Pre-College Enrichment

Eppur, si muove!

The complexities surrounding Italy’s history are, at times, hard to unravel. The different civilizations that have created the monuments that we relish today continue to fascinate the entire world. They fascinate so much, that we even found pasta in the shape of the monuments. From the Roman Empire to the Renaissance, Italy’s past and continual flourishing of the arts, literature, and architecture maintain a captive audience in the present. As we traveled around this past weekend, we stepped into the intersection where past meets present, and we learned more about the history and artistry of this boot shaped country.

Although small, the town of Pisa was a highpoint for the students for obvious reasons. The Leaning Tower of Pisa provided all the students with an opportunity to take fun snapshots of themselves and their friends “holding” the tower. That night we had a dinner in Pisa and showed each other the pictures we took.

As dawn came, the sun rose slowly above the foothills surrounding Florence, and we too, rose from our slumber to make our trek to Venice.  We made our way through the hilly countryside, to see a glimpse of the city. Upon arrival, we jumped into a vaporetto and zipped through the waterway and into San Marco Square. Many students thought travelling on the vaporetto was the best part about being in Venice!

PCE Florence in Venice

All around us people whizzed up and down staircases, and we cautiously traversed through the crowds towards the Doge’s Palace. The Eastern influenced architecture left many students mesmerized, and within minutes we were on our way to a Murano glass blowing demonstration. The students learned that in order to be a “glass master,” an artisan must have practiced the craft for 40 years. Everyone was impressed by the demonstration because within the short span of a few minutes the Glass Master had created an ornate vase. We were all impressed and thought it was amazing that Glass Masters could make jewelry, sculptures, and glasses all by blowing glass. Afterwards, all of the students walked through a corridor filled with Venetian glass and were awe-struck with the craftsmanship put into each piece.

Following the demonstration, all of the students went on a gondola ride that rode through the narrow canals of Venice. In a moment of romance, some of the students were able to see a couple’s engagement in another gondola. The relaxing atmosphere allowed students to laugh and really enjoy the moment.

PCE Florence in Venice

That night we went to Campo de Santa Margherita for dinner, which is a popular hangout for locals. During this time students had the chance to explore nearby canals and explore the area across the Academia Bridge. The evening ended with laughter and gelato!

The next day was filled with student exploration and adventure within Venice. After crossing the Rialto Bridge, the students took time to search through the various shops and discover Venetian culture on their own. Many students found their way into mask shops, and all students discovered the importance of seafood within the city.

The evening quickly came upon us, and after another delicious dinner we made our way back onto the vaporetto and toward our bus to Florence. As the sun set over the Venetian landscape, many students looked out upon the water and found themselves yearning to go back into the city in the future.

It’s now our last week in Florence, and we are all shocked at how quickly it has arrived!

For now, tutto é bene che riesce bene!

Ciao for now,

The Westcoast Blogger

If you think this sounds like fun learn more about joining one of our 21-day or 28-day student trips to gain credit and pre-university enrichment with classes at college in Florence, Italy.